Letting Go… essential for the Metal Element
The Metal Element – Mid to Late Fall
The Lung is the Master of Qi , known as Da Qi (great Qi) or Heavenly Breath.
As the Master of Qi it connects above to the throat and nose and below to the openings or orifices of the Heart and Liver.
The Lungs are situated at the upper source of the stream of heavenly energy it is in charge of all the descending movement in the body. It descends into the Kidney palace as noted in the Shen cycle, Metal is the mother of Water.
Our vital life force known as Qi or Prana is derived from the strength and harmony within our Lungs.
Our sun sets in the West wherein Yang is now consumed by Yin and the events of day are letting go, so lies the direction of the Metal Element. The analogy that can be depicted here is the flux of coming in and going out just as our ocean tides.
The season is Fall the time during which all that has been planted has grown to fruition and now is being harvested and preserved for the Winter. It is the time of the year for us to prepare for the Winter by releasing that of which will not be of service to us during the long hard winter to come. The color Is White and the emotions of Grief, sadness and melancholy harm the Lung and dissipates its Qi.
If the Lung Qi is in harmony all the rest of the body Qi will obey the commands of the Lung.
The Lungs are the Yin (the wife) and Large Intestines the Yang (husband) are the organ complex of the Metal Element they are the organs of elimination, of letting go on physical, emotional and mental levels.
The Lung is known as the “Delicate Organ” as it is extremely sensitive to cold, heat, damp or dry and especially wind and fire. These climatic influences create adverse effects upon it’s functionality. Just like a metal object absorbs the temperature of the heat or cold in its’ environment instantaneously, the Metal Organ – Lung is highly reactive to thermal change. The 6 climatic influences as well as the 7 harmful emotions and external injury will make the Lung lose its clear yang and equilibrium. This will disrupt its Qi, causing its energy flow to go upwards which is opposite to its internal function.
The upward flow of Lung Qi will pathologically manifest as coughing and nasal discharge. Asthmatic breathing is an acute reaction due to heat in the Lung. One therapeutic approach to clearing heat in the lung is to clear heat in the Large Intestine by applying the use of cooling purgatives.
The Lung provides the voice and moisture to the skin. It propels Wei Qi (Protective Qi) and Essence to the skin, hair and limbs. At the onset of Fall it is beneficial to protect the neck and throat as they are the entry way to climatic and external influences. The air in the Fall changes to cold and crisp creating dryness. If the Lung is dry, so will the Large Intestine which will also manifest as constipation. The therapeutic approach in this instance would be to nourish the Lung Yin so that the descending action of the Lung will also emollient the Large Intestine which then enables the bowels.
PO is the spirit which resides in the Lungs, it represents the material part of the Moon. PO is the visceral life force that lies latent in the earth and in medicine and focuses on the preservation of the physiological and developmental functions of the body. PO is responsible for all of the inherent instincts we have as humans from birth: to see, hear, breath, move our hands and feet.
An imbalance of Metal may cause a general blockage of energy flow, giving rise to stiffness, rigidity, or an inability to let go of past occurrences. The individual may have a whining or sobbing sound to their voice, a whitish pallor, a tendency towards mucus, physical weakness, lung problems, sinus congestion and/or cough.
When there is purity in the Metal one can regain breath. Breath has its origins in the Heart and can return to the root (the abdomen) with every breath we take.
Laying down for a long period of time will harm the Lung. The also applies to sitting with your shoulders and back caving in forward. Open up your Lungs, this will also open up your Heart.
The sound of the Lung is “ssssssss” , we may help to strengthen our lungs by inhaling deeply then exhaling this sound for a minimum of 3 times up to 36 times. Pretend that when you take that deep inhalation you are filling up a large balloon and when you exhale you are making the sound that the balloon makes as air escapes. Expand your arms out and away from you body when you inhale and retract them inwards when you exhale.
In the Fall, partake of those foods that will conserve your Yang and nourish the Yin; root vegetables and hardy greens, soups made with building stocks made from beef and chicken bones and bone marrow, free range and grass fed animal proteins, add to that legumes and brown rice that has been soaked in water. Why conserve the Yang? The Yang is the fire that will maintain our strength and warmth through the next season to come after the Fall. Nourishing the Yin with foods that are prepared in liquids will help to prevent dryness.